When Facebook started promoting its facial recognition software, Facebookers and of course privacy activists went nuts. Now facial recognition has sparked the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is holding a workshop on Dec. 8, 2011 in Washington, DC. All this attention has caused investors to take a closer look at this industry.
There are many big players with facial recognition as a small portion of the business including 3M (MMM), with the Cogent BioTrust biometric logon software, and the CAFIS system which can integrate facial recognition authentication. Apple (AAPL) has the iPhoto software Faces. Last year, Apple purchased the Sweden based Polar Rose facial recognition company for $22 million. Also, Google (GOOG) uses PittPatt technology to allow Picasa to add name tags to pictures.
Safran SA recently took over L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc. (SAFRY.PK), one of leaders in the face recognition arena. The company provides facial biometric technology to casinos and the gaming industry. L-1 has such products as FaceEXPLORER, a mugshot booking solution, FaceIt® Argus, a security checkpoint face screening system, and the ABIS® System FaceExaminer that analyzes, searches and identifies faces of wanted subjects taken from poor quality surveillance video. Safran trades at 4.5 times earnings, and recently reported a 2.5% increase in earnings.
AuthenTec (AUTH), a seecurity and identity management company, produces the TCEFC1 TouchChip module used with the Mobile Offender Recognition and Identification System known as MORIS. The stock trades at 97 times forward earnings. Although recent earnings were negative, the company reported a 51.2% in revenues for the latest quarter.
WallStreetNewsNetwork.com has turned up a list of over ten companies involved in facial recognition. The free list can be downloaded, sorted, and updated.
Disclosure: Author owns AAPL.